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Tag Archive | "AAA"

Don’t forget to replace your vehicle’s brake hardware


For a few extra dollars, car owners can enhance vehicle safety and protect their investment in brake pads and shoes by replacing their vehicle’s brake hardware.

For a few extra dollars, car owners can enhance vehicle safety and protect their investment in brake pads and shoes by replacing their vehicle’s brake hardware.

(NAPS)—Brakes are a critical component for maintaining vehicle safety. Whether it’s trying to stop your vehicle on an icy, snow-packed road or slowing down on a rain-soaked highway, properly functioning brakes are key to maintaining control of the vehicle.

However, brake wear can compromise vehicle performance and, ultimately, threaten vehicle safety. AAA encourages motorists to have a certified technician inspect their brakes to ensure they are ready for whatever Mother Nature has to offer.

In an article featured on theautochannel.com, John Nielsen, director, AAA Auto Repair and Buying Services, noted that there are several warning signs that motorists should closely monitor to identify and resolve brake wear before it can impact vehicle safety.

“Often, the first sign of worn brakes is a brake pedal that seems to require more pressure to stop the vehicle. Scraping, squeaking or chirping noises that come from the wheels when the brakes are applied are other signs of potentially excessive brake wear. A car that pulls to the left or right when the brakes are applied could also mean trouble,” Nielsen said.

He further advises consumers to ask for an annual brake inspection when taking their vehicle into an auto repair shop for service.

Complete Brake Inspection Includes Hardware

According to Chris Miller, Product Development Engineer, of International Brake Industries (IBI), consumers should ask their technician to also inspect their vehicle’s brake hardware in order to ensure that their vehicle receives a complete brake job.

Miller explained that brake noise is the No. 1 cause of dissatisfaction and complaints about brake systems. Brake noise is usually caused by the vibration of components that are not properly installed and secured—typically, it’s not the fault of brake pads or shoes, but it can more likely be caused by worn-out brake hardware.

He added that, like most mechanical parts, brake hardware will wear out over time and can’t function if the parts are corroded or stretched. If brake hardware is worn, it can even cause newly installed brake pads to wear out prematurely, reducing the life span of the pads and shoes.

Brake hardware—including clips, bolts, rubber bushings, rubber seals and springs—is integral to the proper operation of the vehicle’s entire braking system.

“It’s very common for drivers to leave an auto repair shop with newly replaced pads and shoes, but still experience brake noise because their brake hardware was not replaced,” Miller said. “We have a simple message for consumers: For a few extra dollars, you can protect your investment in brake pads and shoes and ensure optimum performance by also replacing your vehicle’s brake hardware.”

Superior Brake Performance

To reduce brake noise and drag (that is, brake pad friction, which can affect fuel economy), IBI recently introduced the new line of QuietGlide® brake clips. QuietGlide brake clips feature a coating of vulcanized rubber on one side to reduce brake noise and a low-friction PTFE coating on the other side of the clip to reduce drag.

By installing new QuietGlide brake clips, consumers are truly receiving a complete brake job—ensuring smoother, quieter riding brakes and extending the life of their brake pads and shoes.

For more information, visit www.completebrakejob.com.

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Defeat drowsy driving dangers: Tips for staying awake at the wheel


CAR-Defeat-drowsy-driving

(BPT) – One in five fatal accidents in America involves a drowsy driver, according to a recent report from the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety. Unfortunately, driving while fatigued is common in today’s business world. Yet the consequences of driving when you’re tired can be tragic.

“Drowsiness is similar to alcohol in how it compromises driving ability by reducing alertness and attentiveness, delaying reaction times, and hindering decision-making skills,” says Dr. Nathaniel Watson, president-elect of the American Academy of Sleep Medicine (AASM) and national spokesperson for the National Healthy Sleep Awareness Project, which is raising awareness of the dangers of driving while fatigued. “Drowsy driving is deadly, but it can be prevented.”

The Healthy Sleep Project has issued a Drowsy Driving Health Advisory, which urges every driver to take responsibility for staying “Awake at the Wheel.” Drivers should make it a daily priority to get sufficient sleep, refuse to drive when sleep-deprived, recognize the signs of drowsiness, and pull off the road to a safe location when sleepy.

“Rolling down the windows or turning up the music will do little to increase your alertness while driving,” Watson says. “You can drink coffee for a short-term energy boost, but if you catch yourself drifting into other lanes or nodding off, it’s absolutely time to pull over and take a nap.”

Getting seven to nine hours of nightly sleep is the best way to prevent drowsy driving, according to the Healthy Sleep Project. Drivers should also avoid driving late at night or alone, and they should share the driving with another passenger on long trips.

How do you know if you’re too sleepy to drive? If you experience any of these warning signs, you should pull over or have another passenger take the wheel:

* You keep yawning or are unable to keep your eyes open.

* You catch yourself “nodding off” and have trouble keeping your head up.

* You can’t remember driving the last few miles.

* You end up too close to cars in front of you.

* You miss road signs or drive past your turn.

* You drift into the other lane of traffic.

* You drift onto the “rumble strip” or onto the shoulder of the road.

The Healthy Sleep Project also encourages transportation companies to promote public safety by adhering to hours-of-service regulations, scheduling work shifts based on sleep need and circadian timing, implementing an evidence-based fatigue management system, and screening commercial drivers for sleep diseases such as obstructive sleep apnea.

“There is no substitute for healthy sleep – it’s essential to promote personal safety and optimal alertness behind the wheel,” Watson says. “Evaluate your sleep habits, address potential problems with a board-certified sleep specialist, and make sleep a priority to protect yourself, your passengers and other drivers from avoidable, life-threatening accidents caused by drowsiness.”

For more information, visit projecthealthysleep.org.

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Boomers: help stop a silent killer


Tony Thomas and his family

Tony Thomas and his family

(BPT) – Eating well, exercise, sleep—these are all things we can control when it comes to our health. But unfortunately, some health-related things are out of sight, and therefore, often out of mind. Hidden health issues can escalate for years before becoming potentially life-threatening. For example, the term “silent killer” refers to fatal medical conditions that often exhibit no warning signs. High blood pressure is one such condition that many people are familiar with, but there is another very serious condition that most people have never heard of: abdominal aortic aneurysm.

More than 1 million people are living with an undiagnosed abdominal aortic aneurysm, also known as AAA (pronounced “triple A”), and it’s the third-leading cause of death in men 60 and older. The good news is that AAA can be managed and treated if found in time through a simple ultrasound screening test; so, it’s important for boomers to know the risk factors for themselves and their loved ones so they can ask their doctor about screening, if necessary.

What exactly is AAA? AAA is a balloon-like bulge in the body’s main artery that can burst unexpectedly. The problem with AAA is there are no symptoms, and when the aneurysm ruptures, only 10 to 25 percent of people will survive.

Tony Thomas of Detroit, Mich., is one of the lucky survivors. One morning Thomas woke up feeling great, and with no warnings, suffered a ruptured AAA. He was reading a newspaper, suddenly felt a gurgle on the right side of his back and quickly become incapacitated. His daughter called an ambulance and he was rushed to emergency surgery.

Today, Thomas feels very fortunate to have survived a ruptured AAA. He has partnered with a non-profit, AAAneurysm Outreach, to become an advocate for their ambassador program – made possible by Medtronic, Inc. – spreading the word about AAA risk factors and the importance of screening.

A quick and painless ultrasound screening of the abdomen, similar to a pregnancy ultrasound, can easily detect the condition. In just a few minutes, a doctor can determine if AAA is present and if corrective action is necessary. The good news is at least 95 percent of AAAs can be successfully treated if detected prior to rupture through screening and most health plans cover AAA screening tests at no cost for people who fit the risk profile.

So who is at greater risk of developing AAA? Risk factors associated with this condition include:

* Age: Individuals 60 or older are most likely to develop this condition.

* Gender: AAAs are between five to 10 times more common in men than in women. However, research shows AAA may be more deadly in women.

* Family history: 15 percent of those with AAA have close relatives with the condition.

* History of smoking: Tobacco users are eight times more likely to be affected than non-smokers.

* Other health conditions: Including clogged arteries (atherosclerosis), high blood pressure (hypertension), and high cholesterol.

“I want to urge others to learn about AAA and get screened if they are at risk. I didn’t have that opportunity when I was rushed to the hospital for emergency surgery,” says Thomas. “It’s important for others to know that a simple ultrasound screen can help save your life.”

If you or a loved one may be at risk for AAA, ask your doctor about a simple ultrasound screening. Visit www.AOutreach.org to learn more.

 

 

 

 

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Traveling with kids—be car seat smart


Protect your precious cargo: Be sure your child’s car seat is properly installed and remember to use it every ride.

Protect your precious cargo: Be sure your child’s car seat is properly installed and remember to use it every ride.

(NAPS)—Road trips with children can be daunting, but with AAA’s expert advice, your next family car trip can be both safe and fun:

• Involve your children early on when planning a road trip. Let them help decide places to stop.

• Give kids a map so they can see where you are and how far it is to your destination.

• Remember, loose items in the car can be dangerous in a crash or just a sudden stop. Keep loose items in the trunk, a console or under a cargo net.

• Be sure children are secure in the proper car seats. Each year, more than 1,000 kids die and 170,000 are injured in car crashes—but giving them the proper protection will help keep them safe.

Following these best practice recommendations will ensure your children are as safe as possible on the road:

First, remember that the backseat is the safest place for all kids under 13. Toddlers should be kept in rear-facing seats for as long as possible, until reaching the height or weight limits of the car seat, typically around age 2. Children who have outgrown the harnesses on their forward-facing car seats can use a booster seat to help position them so the lap/shoulder belt fits properly across their hips and upper thighs and across their chest and collarbone. The American Academy of Pediatrics says children should remain in a booster seat until they have reached 4’9” in height, which is typically between ages 8 and 12. A child is ready to move from a booster seat to a lap/shoulder belt if the following criteria are met:

• The child can sit all the way back against the vehicle seat;

• The child’s knees can bend comfortably at the edge of the vehicle seat;

• The lap/shoulder belt crosses the child’s shoulder between the neck and arm and the lap belt remains low across the thighs and hips;

• And, the child can remain in this position for the duration of the ride.

Before heading out on your trip, be sure that your child’s car seat is installed properly. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, three out of four car seats are incorrectly installed. It’s important to read the owner’s manual for both the vehicle and the car seat before attempting the installation. Fortunately, Certified Child Passenger Safety Technicians are available to advise you. You can find them through an AAA office, by calling (866) SEAT-CHECK or by visiting www.seatcheck.org. Another way to protect children all over the country, the experts at AAA say, is to strengthen child passenger safety laws. Learn more at www.SafeSeats4Kids.AAA.com.

 

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Have turkey will travel


Are you going to be one of the 1.33 million residents traveling 50 miles or more from home during the Thanksgiving holiday this week? That’s how many people AAA Michigan estimates will be on the road Wednesday, November 23 to Sunday, November 27. That’s nine percent more people traveling in Michigan this year than last year. Nationally, the number is up four percent, to 42.5 million.
“This is the first significant increase in any holiday travel this year,” noted AAA Michigan President Steve Wagner.  “Despite the uncertain economy, our projected increase shows more travelers are choosing visiting family and friends over frugality this holiday.”
Vehicle travel remains the most popular form of Thanksgiving transportation.    Ninety percent of Michigan travelers will go by vehicle, down from last year’s ninety-four percent.  Nationally, 90 percent of holiday travelers will also go by vehicle, a four percent increase.
Gasoline prices have fallen 15-20 cents over the last week, depending on where you live. In Cedar Springs, they were $3.26 at press time, and still about 50 cents higher than a year ago.
“Gasoline prices have continued their slow decline in the last week across a solid majority of the United States, with the national average sagging to its lowest level since this past February,” according to GasBuddy.com Senior Petroleum Analyst Patrick DeHaan. “Many motorists may be giving thanks for the lower gasoline prices until they realize that average prices will still easily exceed prior Thanksgiving Day records,” he added.

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